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Pranab hopes Zardari visit will improve bilateral trade

Bangalore: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the visit of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to India would improve bilateral trade and relationship.

"Let us hope that with this visit, our bilateral relations and trade will improve," he told reporters on the sidelines of `bhoomi pooja` of IFCI Financial City in the outskirts of Bangalore.

He said the visit of Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to Pakistan in February was successful. "I do hope it will be one step forward to the improvement of our relationship with Pakistan," he said.

Addressing the function, Pranab said Karnataka was among the states which had the biggest financial penetrations in the country. Among the five top states, Bangalore, in terms of credit and deposits put together, was next to Mumbai and Delhi.

Importance of Bangalore was also corroborated by income tax collection, he said.

He expressed happiness over IFCI making rapid strides in the last few years as it has doubled its balance sheet from Rs 14,000 crore to Rs 28,000 crore while maintaining sound capital adequacy of 20 per cent and growth to zero non- performing assets.

On the IFCI Financial City Project, Pranab said as many as 15 banks and insurance companies have already agreed to participate in it. "The project will generate employment and investments in the state," he said.

The project would be completed in next three years, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said, adding, 50 acres of land near Bangalore International Airport was alloted to IFCI Infrastructure Development Limited (IIDL).

IIDL would develop premium urban infrastructure at the site in association with leading banks and institutions. "The project is being developed to serve as a model for regional financial centres across the country," he said.

IFCI CEO, MD and Chairman Atul Kumar Rai said, "The project is being built at an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and it would be a regional financial hub …"

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